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◈ 윤치호일기 (1899년) ◈

◇ 12월 ◇

해설목차  1권  2권  3권  4권 윤치호

1. 12월 31일

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31th. (29th of 11th Moon). Sunday. Windy and chilly.
 
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When I wrote last, on the 16th of March, I had not the faintest idea that I should stay here up to this date. By some mysterious series of accidents and coincidences I have, however, spent the last 10 months of the closing year of the 19th century in Wonsan. Thanks to God for the safe journey thus far. May He never leave me and mine! A resume of my experience during the year.
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1. Climate. I find the climate of Wonsan as good as any I have known, in the months of May and June. The Fall, September, October, and November, is simply lovely beyond description. The months of December, January, February, March, and even of April, are marred by strong and almost incessant winds. Snow began to fall this year in November, Since then four times already, the one before the last, being over a foot deep. They say this is nothing in the line of snow here.
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In Spring and Summer, Wonsan and its vicinities are a land of flowers. Azaleas of splendid size; violets, yellow, pink, and white; tiger lilies of the valley literally cover the hills. Wild and sweet roses perfume the beaches for miles and miles. Honeysuckle is also abundant. These and other beautiful children of Spring and Summer find their worst enemies in Japanese and Koreans, though from too different causes. The former, being passionately fond of flowers, rob the gardens and hills of any and all flowers without hesitation, paying regard neither to private ownership nor to public rights. On a beautiful day the hills near the Japanese settlement are covered with Japanese of all sizes deflowering them most pitilessly. The Japanese on the hills cutting and uprooting flowers and young trees gives one a vivid idea of what the locust-plague in Egypt might have been. On the other hand, the Koreans pay no attention at all to the flowers as such. They tread down under their unhallowed feet the rose blushing in the morning sunshine, or the lily-of-the-valley perfuming the whole dale, with as little compunction as on the vilest dirt. The Korean woodmen, who denude every hill that comes within their reach, uproot flowering shrubs to cook their miserable rice with. When you ask them the name of the flowers which have bloomed unappreciated on these rich soils for centuries, these soul-dead Koreans simply and stupidly answer "Molayo"! Thus in this God-beautified but man-defiled land, women and flowers bloom and toil and die unloved and nameless.
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2. The people of Tukwon or Wonsan are as simple and ignorant and lazy as their brethren in any other Korean province. They are strongly addicted to old customs and superstitions. No ambition higher than an official cap: Nothing―not even gain itself―appeals to them except what is material and immediate. Public spirit, there is none. Their only ambition and aim is to be and to do worse than their fathers. It would be a crime and filial impiety to these Confucius-ridden folks to be or to do anything better then their fathers and grandfathers were or did. It is this that makes them impervious to all arguments for building more solid and permanent bridges. It is this that makes a Wonsanite to smile in his sleeves and cuss you behind you when you tell them and beg them to keep their streets and houses cleaner. It is this that has cost me nearly a year's persuation and efforts to raise the miserable sum of410.00 to house a common school! What vexes and provokes me most is that the people willing enough to give hundreds of dollars to squeezing prefects, turn deaf ears to you when you start a subscription with a handsome contribution heading the list, for what?―for the sake of their own children and relatives!
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3. The Japanese settlement has 100,000 Tsubo's(十萬坪) . Pays to the Korean governmnt50.00 per annum. A population of something like 1,600. A municipal hall, a hospital, a school, a bank, a steamships company, a post office, a garrison of 200 solders. One may easier imagine the play of Hamlet with Hamlet left out than a Korean port without Japanese domination or tyranny. All the insults or indignities or frauds which a Japan did suffer or imagine to have suffered from foreigners years ago, the Japanese try and do heap on the Koreans with double compound interest. They (the Japanese) grab at every gain and monopolize it at the expense of the Korean. An example:
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When I first came here. I found that the sampan trade was in the hands of the Japanese. No Korean dared to show himself on the harbor with a sampan. The gang of Japanese coolies would pounce upon any Korean sampan man with sticks, knives, hooks, getas and thoroughly do him up. Last year Mr. Kim Ik Sung, an ex-Kamni of Wonsan, was seized by the Japanese coolies and came near being drowned for having attempted to organize a Korean sampan boat company. The respectable class (so called) , and even the Japanese officials connived at the outrages of their coolies not only but encouraged them in secret. In the months of September, or thereabout, a number of Koreans tried to start the business with three boats. I had told them and others time and again that nothing could break down the Japanese cooliocracy but an eye-for-eye tooth-for-tooth policy on the part of Koreans and that as long as the Wonsan people remained indifferent, no justice would be possible. The few Koreans, without any proper organization, and trusting only on the piece of paper given to them by the Agriculture Department, ventured to transport passengers to and from steamers. The Japanese coolies beat them and inflicted injuries, right under the eye of the Japanese policemen!
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The Koreans, instead of fighting, would run to the Kamni office and cried for help. I boiled with indignation, but what could I do? Only official protest to the Japanese Consul with the foregone conclusion that he would laugh at it. The encouraging attitude of their officials emboldened the Japanese cut-throats of coolies who even assaulted the servants of their Kamni office. How I wish I could go down to Wonsan and stir up the people. Fortunately, the people or rather, a samll portion of them, took fire and commenced the policy of boycotting the settlement. For over 10 days the blockade continued, the longest known in Wonsan. The Japanese Consul came down to terms, He promised that the recurrence of the outrages should be strictly prevented etc. etc. After this, the Japanese and Koreans have entered into an agreement to form a partnership in the sampan business. So now each sampan has a Japanese and a Korean boatman. The monthly profit or loss is divided equally. Will the Japanese be true to the contract? If Koreans will stick together, the Japanese will be more cautious. Hence I say, if Koreans were no sheep, Japanese or any other "ese" could never have been wolves.
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4. The Foreign Community is very small; six Canadians; 4 Americans―Mrs. Gale being the better half of a Canadian, though; 4 Germans; 3 English; 1 Dane; 1 Norwegian; 1 French. All the Canadians are missionaries. The French Father is very unpopular for his un-Christly behavior of greediness and despotism. Mr. Oiesen, the Commissioner of Customs, is the greatest figure in the Foreign Community. He is shrewd, refined, calculating and polite but arbitrary enough where his self-interest is concerned. His contempt for Koreans and fear of the Japanese was illustrated most strikingly during the year.
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One day the Korean Chief of Police, Kim Myong Ook, had a customs, boatman arrested on the premises of the Custom House without the permission of Mr. Oiesen. Undoubtedly Kim was in the wrong. Oiesen ordered his men to nail up the police box in front of the Custom House as a measure of retaliation. This was an insult to the Korean government. After a series of correspondence, he opened the police box, but insisted to have it removed. He told me that this was necessary to keep up among his people a kind of l'esprit de corps. Very well. During the sampan quarrel, Mr. Manheimer, an out-door staff officer of the Customs, while discharging his duty on the Custom House premises, was assaulted by the Japanese coolies and came near getting his head broken into two but for the protection of a thick sun-hat. From every poing of view, I thought and asked that Mr. Oiesen should take a vigorous step. But, no! After a few words of parley with the only Japanese Consul, the case was given up-no punishment of the coolies who assaulted a foreign employee of the Customs on its own premises. Where was l'esprit de corps this time? I suppose Mr. Oiesen cowered before the Japanese coolies because l'esprit de corps was not as precious as l'esprit dans corps. Yes, might is right everywhere and always, let preachers say what they may.
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One of the English is Mr. C. Bilbrough. He bought, through the agency of the Reverend Fenwick of Wonsan, several hundreds of acres on the peninsula of Kalma last year. He and his majestic mother came here sometime in the early summer. They at once started to build on the new site a machine shop, to lay water pipes, to improve the grounds in general. They seemed to spare no money in buying things. In the month of October the mother and son moved into their new home, away from all foreign associations. No social visits or compliments exchanged. They give it out that they have selected this place because the climate suits Mr. B's health. Mrs. B. told several people that she had only two people to trust each other―viz. she and her son. She hates Americans, Japanese, missionaries. The Japanese are crazy to find out what this mysterious Englishman means. They think that he is a Russian political agent. Others hint that he is an English emissary of some secret designs. The Japan Mail suggested that Mr. B. is in the service of Germany. Mr. Ahrents of the Customs think that Mr. B. has some invention to work out. Who knows but that he may be an employee of the Japanese government. After all he may turn out an English man of means tired of the elaborate conventionalism of the civilized world seeking a quiet corner where he could indulge in his passions for sport, for pheasant raising etc. Time alone will tell.
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(This is an owl-bird of wisdom.)
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5. Visitors, June and July. H.R.H.the Prince of Prussia visited Wonsan. He was exceedingly approachable. He seemed to have made up his mind to be agreeable, laying aside all formalities and shows which so easily beset a man of his rank. For his entertainment the Seoul Government spent100,000.00 or more! He visited Su Kwang Sa. Am told that the monks of the temple were scandalized at the absence of royal pomp and ceremonies which they had expected from his visit. At the dinner table at Mr. Oiesen's one evening, the Prince told me that he would die if he could not smoke and that if he were Korean he would not give away gold and other mines to foreigners. He told Mr. Oiesen that in ten years H.M. would be pensioned off!!!
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What was the royal visitor to me anyhow? Out of sight out of mind on the part of both of us. But then we had the delightful call from Messrs. Rankin and Coffey from China; of Drs. Lambeth and Hardies on their way to Seoul. Felt like meeting the members of my family.
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6. In April visited the noted temple of Suk Wang Sa. The location and the approach(洞口) to the temple are certainly beautiful. But the buildings are, like all similar structures in Korea, the exhibition of the bed use of good timber. No art anywhere. Nature has done everything, but man, nothing. If Japanese had the place they would, in a few years, transform the whole place into a lovely garden. The temple is interesting from its historic associations with the founder of this present dynasty. There is a tall pine tree (now dead) which King Taicho planted with his own hand. The name of the temple originated thus:
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Taicho, in his youth, had three boys on his back, in a dream, one parallel to another with a space between each. Was told by an old man in the same dream to ask an hermit among the hills on which now stands the temple for the interpretation of the vision. The future King went to the mountain which was then covered with primeval forests. With difficulty he found the sacred hermit in a hut made of the boughs and vines. The bonze paying no heed to the stranger, Taicho accosted him by saying, "Halloo, you look like a hog." Upon which, the monk said "You look like a Buddha." Being agreeably surprised at this return of a civil reply to a rude salutation, Taicho said, "How is it that you tell me I am like Buddha when I told you are like a pig?" "Well," said the hermit, "in the eyes of a Buddha, all look like a Buddha, but in the eyes of a pig all look like a big." This broke the ice and the hermit interpreted the dream the three parallel logs forming the character as the sign of the stranger's becoming the King of Korea.
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Later on, Taicho was told again in a dream that he must transport to the future Suk Wang Sa, the five hundreds little "Ra-hans" from a neighboring shrine, one by one on his back. So he did, but unfortunately he forgot to carry one. This Ra-han got angry and went to the Hyangsan in Pyongan Do. There are hence only 499 Ra-hans in Suk Wang Sa.
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The archives of the temple has some very valuable articles―such as the small mahogony screens, the handwriting or pictures drawn by some ancient Kings of the Dynasty. An old Japanese screen is also quite interesting. A velvet chair which Her Majesty, the late Empress, had sent to the temple, touched me very sensibly.
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The temple has over 100 bonzes, all lazy―doing absolutely nothing but living on the alms of other people.
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7. Early in June made an official trip to Ham-hung, the capital of the South Ham Kyong Do. Went in a coasting steamer. Left Wonsan about 12 in the night reached Suh-ho, the port of Ham-hung, about 4:30 the next morning. What most interested me in the place were the ox-carts much more light and convenient than the wretched ugly carts of Seoul. Said to be over 40 of these carts in Suh-ho. About 10 miles from Suh-ho to Ham-hung, where I arrived at 2 p.m. Found the houses neater outwardly than the houses in the South. Soon after being put up in an inn outside of the West Gate, the Governor and the Magistrate of Ham-hung invited me to attend the celebration of the completion of the new magisterial office. The banquet consisted of dances etc. by Gi-saings remarkable for their homeliness.
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Found Kim, The Magistrate of Ham-hung, a typical Korean offical of the old school-hearty, hospitable, pompous, and corrupt. The curiosity of the place is the female market―that is, a market where everything is done by women.
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Stayed only one day in the place. Returned to Wonsan over land in two days. The road often through double lines of honeysuckle, wild roses, bright red tiger-lilies with here and there wild roses smiling sadly as neglected beauties. In other countries these flowers would be honored guests or hosts in many a cozy cottages or princely gardens. But here in Korea, you find them only on hills or in unfrequented valleys, while in the houses you can hardly, for money or love, discover any trace of a flower. Eating and sleeping are the sum of existence to an average Korean.
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8. Since the day of my arrival, I have been at repairing something or other in and out of Kamni Office. Yet so neglected the house has been that a whole year's constant efforts scarcely show themselves to advantage.
 
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In the month of May my Darling and children joined me. During the summer we were fortunate in securing the use of the official residence of the Commissioner of Customs. As the cold weather set in we had to move into the Nai-Ah, or inner court, behind the main building of the Kamni Office. Only two Kans. We are quite cramped. Candler, our youngest boy, is a fine fellow. He could walk over a Kan before the first anniversary of his birthday. He is a funny and dear and sweet and precious little kid.
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Tomorrow will usher in a new yeat and a new century. What will it bring to Korea? A few words on the political events in Seoul during the year may be in place.
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1. The Independent Club completely broken up. Early in the summer dynamite explosion in Seoul―林炳吉 etc. arrested as an active member of the miserable conspiracy 高永根 had to flee to Japan. Mr. 李明翔, the Kamni of Fusan, dismissed for not having arrested Mr. 高 at Fusan. Conspiracies, so called, detected of which Mr. Min Yong Kui, 閔泳綺 was said to be the principal mover! The object was said to have been the recalling Mr. 朴泳孝 etc! Mr. Min, the man all powerful last year against the popular movements, exiled for life!
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2. Kim Yong Joon(金永準) as the Commissioner of Police, made everybody in Seoul and out of it, hot by all sorts of inventions, so as to keep up his ill-gotten power. Notorious squeezes. Hellish intrigues. The Peddlers Association legalized into a department of the government with the power of levying taxes etc! Yi Yong Ik and Min Kyong Sik both enjoying exceptional favors of the Emperor. The fight between His Exellency Yun Yong Sun(尹容善) as representing right sentiments and Cho Pyong Sik, the champion of corruption and tyranny―the final defeat in power of Mr. Yun.
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3. The conclusion of a commercial treaty between Korea and China on equal terms of sovereignty―one of the strange accidents in the history of the world.
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4. The full and successful operation of the Seoul Electric Railway in the early Spring. The people of Seoul attributed the drought to the electric cars. A fatal accident brought on a crisis and the enraged populace smashed up a car. Japanese operators of the car resigned the dangerous post and American conductors imported. Everything all well. The line, near the end of the year, extended west from Chong-no to Riong-san.
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5. At last, the Seoul-Chemulpo Railroad completed and operated in the month of October.
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6. Korean press thoroughly gagged. Mr. H. Emberley took the management of the Independent. The English edition appeared weekly―very poorly edited in the matter of punctuation and spelling as well as of grammar. Both editions, English and Korean, all stopped in December. The whole plant bought up by the Government at, I am told,4,000.00 According to a letter from Yi Joon Il, the faithful treasurer in the Independent Office, Mr. Emberley made himself detested by everybody in the office for his vulgarity and brutality! What a pity some missionaries sacrifice their influence for good to their passions.
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7. Both General Le Gendre, the advisor to the Royal Household, and General Greathouse died in the fall. They could have done a world of good in their advisory positions, if they had cared more for the good of the country than for their contract. General Greathouse was an able and clear-sighted lawyer. He crippled his usefulness by his passion for liquor―his favorite drink being the Korean "Mak-kul-lie". He made himself notorious among the Koreans in '98 by his opposition to the popular movement. With all his faults he deserved his pay better than General Le Gendre, who drew300.00 or more every month for years absolutely doing nothing.
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General Greathouse was devoted to his mother, a remarkable women for energy and iron constitution. She is alone! More to be pitied than the dead. God be good to her in her desolation.
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